The Unknown Landscapes of Yakutia

The time of geographical discoveries has long passed, and there are no blank spots on the map of the planet.

But there are still hard-to-reach places that very few people have seen. And most importantly, there are places that have not been captured on photo. I have been hunting for such unexplored territories for many years. Last year, I managed to catch the largest trophy during my photo-geographical research: the granite cities of Ulahan-Sis.

Sergey Karpukhin
A few years ago, I saw photographs of my friend Alexander Krivoshapkin, a biologist, (known on the Internet as Dersu. – Author's note), which he made through a window during an aerial survey of the wild reindeer population in polar Yakutia. This area is called Ulahan-Sis. A low elevation extends as a narrow strip from the west to the east in the interfluve of the Indigirka and Alazeya. The photographs startled my imagination. In the middle of the tundra, along the ridges of the elevation, rows of stone sculptures of the most diverse forms stretched out. I set a goal: to visit this miracle of nature.

I did not know how to approach organizing the expedition, but then emphatically set to work. After studying the maps, I found that the outliers must be in the western part of Ulahan-Sis, which is more accessible from the point of view of transport. This area is located only 30 km from the Indigirka, a distance that is quite possible to cover on foot.

We reached the designated place on a catamaran. It was a long way, and most often we never landed on shore during day, making stops only for the night. We had a thermos with tea and a light lunch with us. In the evening, the search for a suitable place for a camp sometimes lasted for several hours. Every day we changed sides so that different muscle groups worked.

But our efforts were worth it. What we have found surpassed the most optimistic expectations. The outliers exist! Entire cities of granite, created by the forces of nature. A stunning landscape of natural origin. However, when you are among the granite statues of Ulahan-Sis, it seems that these are man-made wonders.

Without a doubt, the Ulahan-Sis granite civilization occupies a worthy place among other world landscape masterpieces.

About the author

Sergey Karpukhin is a traveler, photographer, blogger, author and organizer of photo-expedition projects in Russia. The concept of his activity is visiting hard-to-reach, unknown or little-visited areas, aesthetically attractive and unique landscapes. In focus are Yakutia and the Magadan Region.
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